The suspension of Italian ski resorts' operation during the Christmas holidays may result in a 20 billion euro ($23.7 billion) loss, which is almost one percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), a joint statement published by the Italian northern regions' officials on Thursday read
ROME (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th November, 2020) The suspension of Italian ski resorts' operation during the Christmas holidays may result in a 20 billion euro ($23.7 billion) loss, which is almost one percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), a joint statement published by the Italian northern regions' officials on Thursday read.
Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would seek a European-wide suspension of ski resorts during the upcoming winter holidays to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Merkel's position caused resentment among some Italian regions � namely the regions of Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and the autonomous province of Bolzano (South Tyrol) � the vice-presidents and lawmakers of which expressed concern on the negative economic consequences the Italian regions might face if ski resorts were closed.
"The loss valued at 20 billion [euros] - the figure, which is close to one percent of the national GDP - is the harm, which the regions connected to the mountain skiing industry will have to suffer without the winter season's start," the statement read.
According to the regional officials, the mountain economy includes not only ski trails, but also equipment rental services and ski schools, restaurants and bars, hotels and shops.
"It is inaccurate to talk only on skies, during the winter season, our whole mountain economy operates and provides several hundred thousand jobs, basically seasonal," the statement said.
The northern regions' representatives added that if the decision was made, it would "be absolutely catastrophic for the mountainous regions."
On Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged Italians not to spend the Christmas holiday in ski resorts to contain the rise in COVID-19 infections and called on the European countries to negotiate common rules concerning the operation of ski resorts during the pandemic. Conte added that Italy, France and Germany were working on a common protocol concerning the mountain economy.
On Thursday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz opposed Merkel's initiative aimed to design common European rules on the operation of ski resorts and stressed that every country should make its own decision on the issue. Austria itself is planning to reopen its ski resorts on December 7. Swiss Home Minister Alain Berset said on Thursday that the country's ski resorts continued to operate. On Tuesday, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin wrote on Twitter that Poland's ski resorts will be opened during the winter.